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Student presenter at SURPS

Make a Good Poster

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Your poster is a visual aid to use while you present your work and a way to guide an audience through your project.


Page Overview

Tips for Creating Poster Content

Create and present your poster as if you were telling a story!

  • The scope of many projects is too large to fit into a single good poster--it's all about editing the story you want to tell. Hear from one presenter about this process:

To make my poster, I started by thinking about my art, which was the ready-made outcome of my project. I had all kinds of art: pencil sketches in my journal, acrylic disasters, marker drawings, graphic design pieces, and a whole variety of finished and unfinished pen and ink pieces. I knew I couldn’t include all of it. For instance, even though I had some graphic design pieces I really liked, I chose not to include them because I decided my poster would function better as a snapshot of my summer project, instead of as a summary.” Major Grant Awardee 2017, ASURPS Presenter 2018

  • Even if your project is something that could be described with text alone, try to think about what visuals would be interesting and helpful for your audience.
  • Sometimes presenting a snapshot of your work can give the audience a more concrete understanding of what you did.
Picture of Cake, Drawing by Shannen Torres


Design Tips

Content is important but style is often what attracts your audience.

  • Use your design to guide your audience through the information. Try to create something eye catching, but easy to read.
  • Use the center of your poster to display something visually interesting - perhaps an important image, a schematic of the project or a model of how all your data fits together.
  • Consider using your section headings to make a statement - instead of “Results” try creating a short statement about the overall findings in each section of the poster. This makes every piece of text effective.
  • Pick a simple color scheme that works well with the images you have chosen or figures you have created.

Check out examples of past posters and a video with design tips! 
This content is available to the Stanford Community only.

Poster Requirements


  • Students should review our Make a Good Poster page for content guidance.
  • Dimensions of your poster: 42 inches (wide) by 36 inches (height).
  • Design your poster as a slide in PowerPoint, and save the file as both a .ppt file and PDF.
    • To do this, create a new slide show and add a new slide by choosing “New Slide” from the “Insert” menu.
    • To change the dimensions of this slide to poster size, select “Page Setup” from the “File” Menu. Then change the width to 42 inches and height to 36 inches.
    • If you are submitting your poster with your application for printing, save the final poster in .pdf format and submit the PDF version.
  • The file size should not exceed 5 megabytes.


  • If you are applying to present in-person, Undergraduate Research will print your poster free of charge if your poster is submitted with your application.
  • The computer connected to the plotter is a PC. If you are working on a Mac, check your file on a PC before submitting to ensure your fonts and images appear correctly.
  • Before submitting your poster for printing, double and triple check your file for errors such as spelling mistakes or overlapping images.
    • We will only be able to print your poster once.
  • Posters presented in-person will be mounted with tacks to the provided backing boards.
    • Posters on foamcore will not be mountable or presentable at SURPS/ASURPS.
    • Posters which do not adhere to the above 42x36 guidelines will not be mountable or presentable at SURPS/ASURPS.
  • If you choose to print your poster at your own expense, there are several venues for poster printing both on and off campus. The cost of printing a poster is usually in the range of $55.00. We recommend that students consult with their department to see if the department has poster printing equipment for a reasonable fee.